Politics aside, it hasn’t been too bad

When I discontinued this blog in November 2009 it was for one reason: I didn’t feel like giving away anything for free anymore. I gave up the blog, gave up the TV show, and vowed never again to print an issue of The Binghamton Vanguard. Those things were money-losing operations, and I wasn’t making enough money at my regular “job” (whatever that is) to justify their continuation.
I’d like to reveal that I now make more money at my regular job and can justify a few whimsical enterprises. I would like to but I can’t. I think, though, that the non-pecuniary benefit of having a blog has risen now to the point at which I find it worth the expense, as I did with the TV show I brought back for a short period in 2011. To date only the Vanguard stands as is. One out of three ain’t bad.
I read a story recently from economist Steven Landsburg which described what a young person’s–any person’s–ultimate life goal might be. What’s the goal? What should one’s direction in life entail? To be a consumer. Landsburg’s words, though he says he’s merely quoting a friend: “I want to consume as much as I can of as many different things as I can for as long as I can.” There’s your reason to do anything, including have a blog, paid or unpaid.
The event in November 2009 that soured me to unpaid philosophizing was, of course, the reelection of Matthew Ryan as mayor of Binghamton. More specifically it was the defeat of my candidate, Douglas Walter Drazen. I was disappointed to say the least with the Drazen loss, and seeing no hope for Binghamton’s future, I knew by the time the next mayoral election rolled around I’d be long gone. For all my faults in life I do tend to stick to plans, and that one was a case in point.
Last week Binghamton elected a new mayor: Rich David. To say he’s a new mayor exaggerates a bit; for several years he was the city’s deputy mayor, and operates in the same circle of Republican cronies that have plagued the city my entire lifetime. These so-called Republicans make the John McCains and Lindsey Grahams of the world look like Tea Party stalwarts, and are, on a local level, the manifestations of why the Tea Party exists. We’ve had our own Republican internecine battle in Binghamton for decades before Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin came along, one of the rare instances in which Binghamton really was ahead of a national trend. Unfortunately it was a bad trend, and our city has been suffering beyond what the average Obamacare malcontent could conceive.
My thoughts on Binghamton and its poor governance were codified every week or two for 13 years. I’m going to revisit those ideas in the coming weeks and months, and relate them to national issues. The nice thing about having principles is that you don’t really have to wrestle with new issues that arise. Just apply your principles and the answer awaits, no political considerations necessary. This one is going to be one of our major themes.
A major theme of our society the past four years, unfortunately, is a continuation of one that has afflicted us for most of the past century: the growth of government at the expense of personal liberty. The few voices that have emerged recently promoting liberty have been too often mocked by those in political power and worse still by those in the media, ironically the one-time champions of freedom and enterprise. Sadly I see little real opposition to the slow creep of government upon our nation, and sadder still that slow creep seems to be moving less slowly.
This being said, there is still no time in human history I’d rather live than in present-day America. With all its faults this is still the greatest nation in the history of the universe. And the fact that I can blog about it whenever I want just makes it that much better.

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About moc

My name is Mike O'Connell. I am 38 years old and live in Northern Virginia. I am a teacher, a musician, and an enthusiast of all things American.

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